When we think of antioxidants, we typically think of Vitamin C and E. But there’s another antioxidant – glutathione, or GSH – that may in fact be the most important of them all.

Glutathione acts as the body’s powerhouse, not only countering the effects of free radicals by preventing and repairing cell damage, but also helping detoxify the body and bolstering immune health. At optimal levels, Glutathione, appears to act synergistically with other antioxidants, helping them to perform even better.

The good news is that our bodies produce glutathione naturally. The not so good news? By the time we reach our senior years, we are likely to produce 20-40% less of it, and that can wreak havoc with our health.

Age-specific decreases in blood glutathione can be seen in all tissues, including the liver, kidney, heart, spleen and brain, increasing the risk of disease. In studies, those with higher glutathione levels have been shown to experience one-third the risk of arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and circulatory problems, among other diseases often associated with aging.

The benefits of glutathione

A small protein that is synthesized in the body from three amino acids (glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine), glutathione offers specific head-to-toe benefits that reduce the risk of chronic disease and increase overall health:

  1. Mental clarity and brain Health
  2. Improve quality of sleep
  3. Nutrient absorption
  4. Liver Detoxifier
  5. Immune system enhancer
  6. Cancer prevention
  7. Joint & muscle pain
  8. Athletic performance

Improves mental clarity and brain health
Your “foggy brain” may not simply be related to stress, deficiencies in your diet or lack of sleep. Higher levels of glutathione have been linked to improved mental clarity, whereas lower levels may play a role in the onset of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Improves sleep
You’ll be more likely to sleep better and more soundly through the night if your glutathione level is optimal.
Boosts nutrient absorption
Glutathione boosts the effectiveness of your daily intake of vitamins and minerals, whether from food sources and/or supplementation.

Detoxifies the liver and cells
A reduction in glutathione levels diminishes the body’s ability to counter the toxic effects of environmental pollutants, heavy metals such as mercury and commonly used pharmaceutical drugs, including acetaminophen. Conversely, healthy levels of glutathione help the liver eliminate pollutants, aid in regeneration of damaged liver cells and keep it functioning at its best.

Strengthens the immune system
From the common cold to more serious immune disorders, glutathione is a crucial player in the immune system. It is directly involved in the replication and growth of T-cell lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that targets specific disease agents and coordinates a body-wide response.

Helps prevent cancers
As the cell’s major antioxidant, glutathione neutralizes the damaging effects of free radicals as soon as they form in the cell, while also enhancing the effects of other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and selenium. Glutathione not only prevents DNA mutations, but can also repair damaged DNA and contributes to the creation of new DNA. As a detoxifier, it has also been shown to neutralize or eliminate a number of environmental carcinogens.

Reduces joint and muscle pain
Maintaining optimal glutathione levels can help reduce muscle and joint aches often associated with aging and degenerative conditions

Enhances athletic performance
Glutathione has been shown to help athletes train longer and more intensely, while recovering from sports activities faster. It aids in reducing free radicals released during weight bearing activities and other forms of more strenuous exercise.

Ways to Ensure Optimal Glutathione

Consume glutathione-rich foods in your diet
To bolster your dietary intake of glutathione, ensure you eat a variety of the following foods:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Frozen veggies
  • Okra
  • Oranges
  • Parsley
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes (raw)
  • Walnuts

Glutathione is also found in lamb, veal and potatoes, though consumption of these foods should be limited.

Avoid overconsumption of alcohol
Eliminate or reduce your consumption of alcohol, which depletes glutathione levels in your liver.

Consider adjunct therapy
Oral glutathione supplements are less effective at raising intracellular levels of glutathione. An injectable or liposomal preparation is better suited at enhancing levels more quickly. If you are concerned about your ability to managing your glutathione levels through nutrition alone, or about degenerative disease related to aging in general, you may wish to consult a qualified health practitioner to discuss and assess your risk factors and therapy options. Nex Wellness offers a range of integrative health services including laboratory assessments and IV glutathione therapy, serving Burlington and the surrounding areas.